Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Get ready for fantasy playoffs

Friday, March 18, 2011



DALLAS

Games this week
vs. Anaheim, @ Nashville

Notes
The Stars play only twice this week so we recommend reserving all your Dallas players with the exception of Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson (if healthy). Eriksson suffered a head injury when hit by the Sharks Doug Murray and may have a concussion. Kari Lehtonen has made 12 straight starts in goal for the Stars. Jamie Benn has goals in eight of his last nine games to go with five assists as he has taken full advantage of his ice time of late.

DETROIT

Games this week
vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Vancouver, vs. Toronto

Notes
The Red Wings start a five game home stand this week. They are a rested team on Monday when they face Pittsburgh. Brian Rafalski returned on Wednesday and assisted on all three goals but may have injured his knee on Thursday. Pavel Datsyuk suffered a lower body injury Thursday. Chris Osgood was scheduled to return to the lineup from sports hernia surgery on March 9 but has had a couple of setbacks, forcing the Red Wings to recall Joey MacDonald. Henrik Zetterberg had just two goals in 26 games before scoring twice on Wednesday.

EDMONTON

Games this week
@ Nashville, @ St. Louis, vs. Calgary

Notes
The Oilers continue to suffer injuries as Ales Hemsky, Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner are out for the season while Ryan Whitney, Shawn Horcoff and Theo Peckham are also out of action. Gilbert Brule has been diagnosed with a concussion. Devan Dubnyk and Nikolai Khabibulin each have 10 wins but while Dubnyk has 11 losses in regulation, The Bulin Wall has 28.

FLORIDA

Games this week
@ New York Rangers, @ Chicago, @ Buffalo, @ Pittsburgh

Notes
The Panthers play all four on the road this week and play three games in four nights so look for Scott Clemmensen to play once in place of Tomas Vokoun. They are tired on Wednesday when they are in Chicago to play a rested Blackhawks team. Head coach Pete DeBoer doesn't know if he will back next season behind the bench for the Florida Panthers. Mike Duco has been recalled and if he is able to stay he will be a great source of penalty minutes in the final three weeks. Jacob Markstrom underwent surgery and is gone for the season. He will get a chance to be the Panthers top goalie next season, especially if Vokoun signs elsewhere.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week
vs. Calgary, vs. San Jose, vs. Colorado

Notes
The Kings get a big break this week when they face tired opponents twice when they are rested. First they go against Calgary on Monday and then face San Jose on Thursday after the Sharks play Calgary the previous night. Anze Kopitar has five goals and nine points in his last six games. Jon Quick is still the number one goalie for the Kings but Jonathan Bernier is getting a lot more action and has started in five of the Kings last 10 games.

MINNESOTA

Games this week
vs. Toronto, vs. St. Louis

Notes
The Wild play only twice this week so we recommend benching all your Minnesota players. Mikko Koivu returned to the Minnesota lineup on Tuesday and picked up a goal and an assist. They need him down the stretch. Cam Barker has missed nine of the last 10 games with a back injury while Guillaume Latendresse has missed the last couple of games after playing three in a row as he is being seen by doctors. He missed 58 games earlier in the season after a couple of operations on a torn labrum in his hip and a sports hernia.

MONTREAL

Games this week
vs. Buffalo, @ Boston, vs. Washington

Notes
The Canadiens are rested on Sunday when they play a tired Washington team as the Capitals face Ottawa the night before. It should be a wild matchup as the Habs and the Bruins play on March 24. In their last meeting, Zdeno Chara hit Max Pacioretty into the stanchion, breaking Pacioretty's neck and concussing him. No suspension was given to Chara and the Canadiens could be going after the giant defenseman. Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern are day-to-day with lower body injuries.

NASHVILLE

Games this week
vs. Edmonton, vs. Anaheim, vs. Dallas

Notes
The Predators play all three games at home this week and are rested when they face Anaheim on Thursday as the Ducks are in Dallas the night before. Pekka Rinne does not like playing against the Kings as he has given up seven goals in his last 39 shots. Mike Fisher is having a terrible season with 15 goals, 28 points and a minus-23 rating after a great summer in which he married Carrie Underwood. Patrik Hornqvist leads the Predators with 18 goals.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week
@ Boston, @ Pittsburgh, @ Buffalo

Notes
The Devils play three games on the road this week. They are rested on Friday when they take on the tired Penguins as Pittsburgh are at Philadelphia the previous night. Martin Brodeur has started the last nine games, leaving the bench to Johan Hedberg. Patrik Elias leads the Devils in points with 52 while Ilya Kovalchuk has 26 goals and 51 points this season. David Clarkson leads with 109 penalty minutes but surprisingly, Dainius Zubrus is second with 49.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week
@ Tampa Bay, vs. Atlanta, vs. Philadelphia

Notes
The Islanders activated Rick DiPietro off the injured list and sent Nathan Lawson to the minors. Look for DiPietro and Al Montoya to split the netminding the rest of the way. Matt Moulson potted his 30th of the season and now has done it for the second year in a row. John Tavares has two goals and three assists in his last three games. Pierre Parenteau was credited with a goal without taking a shot on net as he was hooked with the net empty and given the goal by the officials.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week
vs. Florida, vs. Ottawa, @ Boston

Notes
Wojtek Wolski was a healthy scratch this past week as coach John Tortorella was holding him accountable for his less than stellar play. Wolski has not scored in his last eight games. Sean Avery was a healthy scratch on Sunday. Ryan McDonagh is plus-14 in 29 games this season. Brian Boyle has two goals, five points and a minus-six rating in 19 games since the All-Star break, while Ryan Callahan has 19 points in 19 games since returning from a broken hand.

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Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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